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Art in the north - tourism and influences  
by Rósa Rut Þórisdóttir


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Art influences on tourists


Down town Akureyri

The people I talked to were surprised by the quality of the art hanging in public areas.  One said not a single public telephone was working in the whole country due to vandalism but at the same time there are works of art everywhere you look, paintings in the rooms of the guesthouses and sculptures both in and outside.


Sculptures are left undisturbed whilst not a single public telephone works due to vandalism

Many mentioned that art works in the guesthouses took them by surprise.  When they chose the guesthouse, they had no idea of the art that they would find there.  Of the paintings on the walls and hand made pottery plates, cups and bowls one American female tourest said, ‘I think it is great and something others shuld think of doing.  It is so nice, but still so simple and calm here, I think they should try to market themselves in this respect.’  Her friend said, ‘the artists should maybe sell their stuff in the guest house or the guest house having information of the artist and where it was possible to buy some of the stuff and then the guesthouse could get some percentage of the sale.’


Akureyri Guesthouse 

Not all tourists I talked to were though so economically minded, but all of them noticed the art and said they were pleased and surprised to see a painting when going to the swimming pool or the bank.  They said art was all over and started to notice it right away in the Keflavík airport but did not realise until later how diffusive and general it was. 
  A guesthouse owner told me that due to the cost of travel to and around Iceland, most of the tourists were people with money who could afford to buy paintings and works of art to remember their stay by.  Cheap souvenirs probably don’t aesthetically satisfy people who have travelled much.  When asked about the comments the two American women made, he said he did not use the pottery his wife makes and sells in a small shop down town as a commercial for her works, but purely because he likes it and they did not use these pieces at home.
  The paintings, some painted straight on the wall, are also done by friends.  He says of course he tells people where they can find these things to buy, which is quite often, but that is not the meaning of it.
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Art in the north-tourism and influences, by Rósa Rut Þórisdóttir.
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